TORONTO, May 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Excellence Canada is pleased to announce the launch of the Canada Awards for Excellence Standard for Financial Wellness. Developed with the support of Sun Life Financial, the Financial Wellness Standard is a proactive strategy for employers to defeat the epidemic of money-related stress and its adverse effect on mental and physical health.

“We see more employers recognizing financial wellness as part of overall good health,” says Jennifer Elia, Assistant Vice-President, Integrated Health Solutions, Sun Life Financial. “The Financial Wellness Standard is an important step in providing employers with a model to follow, as they weave financial wellness into their benefits and retirement savings plans.”

Why does Financial Wellness matter?

Studies show a direct link between financial wellness and employee health. Those that report greater financial stress also report poorer health. 1

Three of the top four drivers of uncomfortable levels of stress for Canadians are related to financial challenges:2

  • 45% of employees worry about personal/household finances
  • 32% worry about trying to maintain a budget
  • 31% worry about unexpected expenses

Financial stress can lead to distress, sleep deprivation, absenteeism, reduced productivity, employee turnover, mental illness, etc.3

Financial stress causes more than 11 lost days of productivity per year4 (per employee).

20 to 30 percent of those with high levels of stress from debt live with anxiety or depression.5

The ROI for employers who offer employees easy access to financial programs is at least 3:1 and that doesn’t include the value of the increased goodwill.6

50% spend 3 or more hours at work each week thinking about or dealing with financial issues7.

31% say productivity at work has been impacted by financial worries.7

People that are “financially unprepared” are 16% less likely than others to say they are “productive in the workplace”.8

Health has been impacted negatively by financial worries. 26% millennials, 32% Gen X and 25% boomers have indicated a negative impact.9

What is the impact of Financial Wellness?

Worry over personal and family finances is causing great pain to millions of Canadians and can be reduced or eliminated by following a strategic approach to planning that is contained in the Financial Wellness Standard. It provides employers with a roadmap to foster health and counteract stress from three main causes related to money: insecurity, ignorance, and worry. The Financial Wellness Standard has 19 requirements and its recommended actions are well-defined, readily achievable, and result in measurable improvements for employers through:

  • Reduced anxiety of employees
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism, presenteeism
  • Reduced turnover
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Improved loyalty
  • Improved morale
  • Healthier employees

Employees benefit directly from:

  • Better understanding of issues regarding personal finances
  • Better support for identified needs
  • Greater family harmony
  • Improved overall health, including mental health, i.e., less stress, anxiety, better sleep
  • Satisfaction and peace of mind
  • Increased participation in financial health choices
  • Greater self-confidence and life skills
  • Lasting benefits intellectually, physically, socially and economically

“Similar to challenges in treating mental illness, the stigma associated with money worries plagues Canadians both at home and at work. Self-esteem is so tightly linked to how much money we have and how well we manage it that fear prevents discussing it openly and dealing with it proactively,” said Allan Ebedes, President and CEO of Excellence Canada. “The Financial Wellness Standard gives employers the roadmap they need to help employees overcome barriers and achieve happier and more fulfilling lives.”

What can you do?

For organizations that complete the program, Excellence Canada offers Certification and National Recognition under the Canada Awards for Excellence presented on November 5, 2019, celebrating 35 years of organizational excellence in 2019.

About Excellence Canada

Excellence Canada is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that is committed to advancing organizational excellence across Canada. Since 1992, Excellence Canada has helped thousands of organizations become cultures of continuous quality improvement and world-class role models, through its Excellence, Innovation and Wellness® Standard and its four-level progressive methodology.

As a national authority on Quality, Healthy Workplace®, Mental Health at Work, and Financial Wellness, Excellence Canada provides excellence frameworks, standards, and independent verification and certification to organizations of all sizes and in all sectors. It is also the custodian and adjudicator of the Canada Awards for Excellence program, of which the Patron is Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.Q., C.D., Governor General of Canada.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $951 billion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

1 Bagwell, D.C. & Kim, Financial Stress, health status and absenteeism…Journal of Consumer Education, 21, 50-58
2 Sun Life Financial, 2016 Sun Life Canadian Health Index
3 Aversa, J. Associated Press (2008) Stressed over debt taking a toll on health
4 The Conference Board of Canada, Money on the Mind Presentation, February 21, 2018
5 The 2016 Financial Stress Research (Financial Finesses)
6 Prawitz, A.D., Garmin E.T. (2009)
7 PWC 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey
8 Manulife Financial/IPSOS Reid, Health and Wellness Study 2014
9 PWC 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey

For more information, please contact:
Excellence Canada
Bonita Savard, Manager, Certification and Awards
416-251-7600 x233

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at